Friday, January 11, 2008

ACK! Mealy Bugs!

Remember the orchid I got at such a great price back in November? Such perfect foliage, beautiful blooms (and still blooming) and mealy bugs. For seven dollars, I didn't expect any extras, but I got them anyway.

Last week, I had seen a couple of them hiding between two of the strappy leaves where one was laying right on top of the other. I cleaned them off and inspected the rest of the plant for more. I found a few and removed them as well.

But what I found yesterday just about made me want to vomit. The mealy bugs were still there and were having a staff meeting inside the bloom. Their buddies that didn't make it for that meeting were having one of their own in one of the leaf crevices. And I caught a few more in transit from one place to another.

How many mealy bugs can you find in this picture?
(Answer at the bottom of this post.)

If they weren't garden pests and they didn't suck the life out of the plants they hang out on, I'd say they were kind of cute as bugs go. They're the fluffy bunnies of the plant pest world. But I didn't feel one bit guilty picking them off and smashing them between my fingers. Ew. Sticky.

I decided to look them up online to see what's the best method of control. Manually removing them is one option, but the eggs and the babies are somewhat difficult to find, let alone see. And they also live in the potting medium, chewing on the roots, weakening the plant. We can't have that.

So I took it out of the pot, got rid of the potting medium and rinsed the roots off in lukewarm water. It had a very healthy root system - the best of all my orchids - so the mealy bugs hadn't yet done too much damage. I sprayed the roots with insecticide and repotted it. Hopefully, I removed all the bugs I could and killed what I wasn't able to get to or see. Time will tell, and I'll need to keep a close watch on it and reapply the insecticide periodically.

In other orchid news, I've got two of them that I think are each just starting to shoot out a flower stalk! The first orchid I ever bought, which was back in February 2006, rebloomed for me a little more than a year after its purchase blooms fell off. I was pretty excited about it because for as fussy as orchids are reported to be, I've not found them to be so much. I have them in the cooler spots in the house, in bright indirect light and when I think of it, I water them. Now and then I'll mist them, but not really all that often.

Now if those darn bugs would just leave us alone, we'll be fine.

Answer: There are 9 of the little buggers.


Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Mealy bugs, bummer! Well you did all you could do now it's wait and see.

I find the Phaleonopsis orchids very easy to grow. They don't like direct sunlight so yours are fine. What they prefer is lukewarm water and a feed about once a week when they are in flower. Spraying them with water is something that they like too, so you're treating them right. The new bloom is looking good!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Aren't those little fuzzy pests awful??? Just seeing your pictures made my skin crawl.

Your orchids are lovely. I just wish I could make them repeat bloom. I can keep them alive but no blooms after they are finished. It is possible that there isn't enough light in my house for blooms to form. Sigh

Rosie's Whimsy said...

Your orchids are beautiful I love the green one! I sure hope those awful mealy bugs don't find the other ones!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kylee-
Beautiful orchids. I have one Phalaenopsis that I have had for the past 7 years and the past 2 it had but one bloom and it was a wilted bloom at that. What kind of medium do you use for your orchids? I can barely get mine to bloom!

Meems said...

I have to admit I don't even attempt to keep orchids past one bloom indoors. When the first round is complete they get relegated to outside and then they only bloom if they are very persistant because I don't pay too much attention to them.

Your orchid is beautiful and those pesky bugs are not cute enough to keep around... too much damage control. :-)

Unknown said...

This post cracked me right up--a staff meeting of mealy bugs! Hopefully your therapy will move them along permanently; those are both splendid colours of phaels. I especially like the greenish one, now I want one of them!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Yuck! I knew there was a reason I liked having only cacti for houseplants.

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Okay, can you say...


Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Kylee Baumle said...

Yolanda Elizabet ~ I agree, Phals are probably the easiest orchids of all. I've got a couple other types, too. I've not gotten rebloom on those, but I've not had them all that long. One of them looks like it's got a flower spike starting though. I really should feed them more often. I'm very bad about that with ALL my plants.

Lisa ~ Yes, they ARE awful. I hope I can get them eradicated once and for all.

Maybe you need to fertilize your orchids?

Rosie ~ The green one was my very first orchid and I love it, too! The one with the mealy bugs isn't anywhere near the other orchids, so hopefully, they won't find them. I have a feeling they were already there when I bought it.

Susie ~I use the orchid mix sold at Walmart. I think it's by Expert (I'm not at home while posting this, or I'd go look.) Don't give up!

Meems ~ I kind of ignore my orchids, too. When they aren't in bloom, they're down in the basement and the stuff down there gets neglected from time to time. That may be why they do better. Less chance for me to do something they don't like!

Jodi ~ Well, just get yourself a green one! Go on! You know you want to! Put yourself out of your misery! LOL

Mr. McGregor's Daughter ~LOL! I've got a few cacti in the house right now an they do fine, but they aren't all that exciting. As soon as it's warm enough in the spring, they'll get moved outdoors. They grow much better out there!

Cindy ~ Oh yeah, I can definitely say "EWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!" I found a couple of dead ones laying on the table under the orchid bloom today, so I guess the insecticide's working.

Nancy J. Bond said...

Your blooms are stunning. How beautiful...bugs and all! :)

Annie in Austin said...

Mealy bugs are one of my worst pests outside - guess we don't get cold enough to knock them off, Kylee!

I can see them well enough to wash them off, but neither my eyes nor my camera can catch them in such disgusting detail as your technology has done - yipes!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Shady Gardener said...

I assume you'll have to keep an eye on your other plants? (Now I know what they look like!) Your flowers are beautiful. (I tried an orchid once and wasn't very successful. Perhaps I'll try again sometime.) ;-)

blogger templates | Make Money Online